retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The University of Michigan on Friday released it latest index of consumer sentiment, saying that it "climbed to 81.4 in the two weeks ended Dec. 9, from 76.9 in November," the Wall Street Journal reports.  The number was higher than the decline to 75.5 expected by economists.

The increase seems to be a reflection of how many people expect "the economic conditions to improve when the country begins to exit from the coronavirus pandemic."

"Most of the early December gain was due to a more favorable long-term outlook for the economy, while year-ahead prospects for the economy as well as personal finances remained unchanged," said Richard Curtin, the survey’s chief economist.

The release of the consumer confidence index comes as "coronavirus cases surged and some states placed new restrictions on activity," but also as hopes are raised as the country starts to see distribution of the first of several vaccines.

KC's View:

People are right to feel hopeful, though nobody should be complacent … we have a long way to go.  I just hope that the people expressing confidence are all planning to get vaccinated as well as wear their masks, practice social distancing, and continue to wash their hands frequently for the duration.

On one of the Sunday morning news shows, someone (I can't remember who) made the observation that while it is fair to compare the shipping of the vaccine to the D-Day invasion, it is important to remember that it was almost a year after D-Day that the war in Europe ended.

So the message seems clear:  Feel hopeful.  Be confident.  Stay vigilant.